Repair Time Estimates / Sleeve Oil and so forth


Whenever I had to perform an emergency repair, I would tell the deck department that it would take twice as long as I really thought it would. That way, if I ran into a complication, I was covered. Otherwise I looked like a hero finishing up an hour or two sooner. . . . . expectation management 101. . . .

Tips and advice for a brand new 3rd Assistant engineer with no experience on ships

That works once or twice. After you consistently get done in half the time, your secret is out, and they just assume you’re doing it again and will be done in half the time. Better to save this for those jobs you think could have complications.

Same for the “sleeve” bunkers I know you don’t keep. After the drafts didn’t work out as calculated a few times, it’s pretty easy to learn each chief’s propensities. The only difficulty is guessing which end they’re being hidden in each voyage.


I like to get straight answers with regards to the engineering situation.

In the case of repair time, an estimate that gives best estimated time and best / worse case scenario estimate would be useful. Sometimes the estimate is just for my use but sometimes I have to communicate it to others, pilots, agents and so forth.

As far a sleeve oil, there is a difference between margin and sleeve oil. The margin is the amount above the estimated amount needed for a voyage and is reported. Sleeve oil is off the books and unreported.

If the ship has sufficient margin then sleeve oil is not needed.


The time estimate for repairs is tricky. I do my best to give an honest and accurate estimate, but I also make it clear that I don’t know for sure.

I recently had an issue with a loss of propulsion and the cause was not immediately clear, nor was the time to get back underway. My initial reaction when the Capt asked how long we’d be down for was four hours. I don’t know why, it was just a gut reaction. I still didn’t know the full scope of the problem and there was no way for me to defend or explain the estimate (which I knew I would likely have to do), so I kept it to myself and told the Capt the truth: I didn’t understand the cause of the problem enough to give an estimate. Turns out that I was off on my gut feeling by about 15 minutes.

As for the guy quoted in the initial post who plays the “hero” by hiding parts: Fuck You. In our SMS that’s actually a fireable offense, no warning, pack your shit. There’s enough going on without having to deal with those kind of bullshit games.


come on…I’m pretty sure he was joking…I know I got a laugh out of it.


The Internet has taught us that there is no statement so extreme that someone will not make it in seriousness. And of course likewise no satirical statement that someone will not take as sincere.


Yeah, but I’m also sure that most of us have sailed with “that guy” who would actually think that was legit advice.


Sleeve oil is the last thing you need on a bulk carrier.


They wont fire me. I just crawled through the entire bilge with nothing but a magnet and my flashlight and emerged victorious. Holding the spindle nut for the #1 HFO purifier above my head as if it was a trophy bestowed upon me for my dedication and perseverance.

Lighten up francis


I really like this one:


Or as a deck mate I’ll sound the CHENGs tanks occasionally. I make it obvious. Either they’re bewildered that I know where the sounding tubes are or they’re hostile. Either way tells me something.


Just don’t change the midnight report or ROB !


When it came to a LOP, I would try to be as Honest as possible when informing the Captain, I would also let them know that I would update them during the process at regular intervals and let them know immediately if something comes up to up the timeframe. I would also let them know NOT to call the E.R. every 20 minutes asking WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO BE DONE as all that’s going to do is slow the process down. If they want to know that frequently, they can send a runner down to ask in person! Some Captain’s that I sailed with liked to stand and look over your shoulder (which made some very uncomfortable) but there was one or two that actually offered to do anything they were asked. The Captain’s that asked how they could help were few and far behind but they usually turning out to be great Captain’s to sail for and with.


I thought it was funny.


ha ha.

I always double an engineers estimate. I prefer to be pleasantly surprised when they finish early. Rather than caught short when it’s not finished when I expected.

When the opertunity arises I have been known to go down bellow to have a look and a chat with the chief.


Well, in my case they were emergency repairs, so it didn’t happen very often. As I stated, expectation management. When you aren’t really complete with trouble shooting it is really just a cushion I would give myself so I would not make mistakes as one tends to do in a panic situation. . . As far as “sleeve” bunkers. . . kind of hard to do on a string boat. Maybe a little bit better on the ATB where we had fuel on both the barge and the tug, but in my case, the tank gauging system was VERY unreliable and there were no sounding tubes fitted. . . I recall on particularly hot summer afternoon, pulling manhole covers and searching for fuel. Great time was had by all. . . . I ended up putting plugs in all of the manhole covers so I could at least do an ullage on all of the fuel tanks. I can add more if any one is interested. . . .


A lot depends on the circumstances.

A situation where the engine dept believes it’s more important to avoid blame then provide good information is far different then a situation where that is not the case.


“If you are going to stand there, Captain, at least hold the flashlight.”

Me, on a few occasions